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7,000 dental patients urged to take HIV test

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Health officials on Thursday urged thousands of patients of an Oklahoma oral surgeon to undergo hepatitis and HIV testing, saying unsanitary conditions behind his office's spiffy facade posed a threat to his clients and made him a "menace to the public health."

State and county health inspectors went to Dr. W. Scott Harrington's practice after a patient with no known risk factors tested positive for both hepatitis C and the virus that causes AIDS. They found employees using dirty equipment, reusing drug vials and administering drugs without a license.

Harrington voluntarily gave up his license and closed his offices in Tulsa and suburban Owasso and is cooperating with investigators, said Kaitlin Snider, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department. He faces a hearing April 19 where his license could be permanently revoked.

"It's uncertain how long those practices have been in place," Snider said. "He's been practicing for 36 years."

The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry said the inspectors discovered multiple sterilization issues at Harrington's offices, including the use of a separate, rusty set of instruments for patients known to have infectious diseases.

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